The extraordinary story of the exiled Tibetan teenager who has been hailed as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the coming age.
In January 2000, an Ambassador taxi twisted its way up the narrow road leading towards Dharamsala in the Himalayan foothills of northern India - the home in exile of the Dalai Lama. In this aging car was a fourteen-year-old boy: the 17th Karmapa, one of the most important figures in Tibetan Buddhism.
The boy's arrival in Dharamsala was the culmination of a breathtaking escape. He had journeyed nine hundred miles across the Himalayas, in conditions of high danger, from the monastery in Tibet where he had lived since he was identified as the 16th reincarnation at the age of eight. His arrival took everybody by surprise: far-flung devotees, the world's press, the Chinese government, even the Dalai Lama himself, who was reminded of his own escape into exile more than forty years earlier.
Fascinated by this charismatic young figure, British writer Mick Brown traveled to Dharmasala to meet him, and found himself drawn into a web of intrigue. Amid a feud of Byzantine complexity concerning the boy's succession, Mick Brown gained access to both sides. In The Dance of 17 Lives, the author reveals what he uncovered: tales of miracles and allegations of murder, the settling of two-hundred-year old scores, and the enduring spirit of Tibetan Buddhism in the face of all adversity.
Dance of 17 Lives, Mick Brown, Bloomsbury, Hardcover, 2005, 304 pages, $16.95.